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ALT.NET, Joy, and Vendor-Free Jazz

Jeffery Palermo’s just posted his clarification of the ALT.NET idea. I think he did a great job of explicitly separating values from examples. I also really like his call out of joy as an important value to consider going forward.

Joy was a motivation for Yukihiro Matsumoto creating and evolving Ruby. My fellow CodeBetter blogger, Jean-Paul Boodhoo, uses the tagline “develop with passion.” If you’ve ever seen him present or been to one of his workshop’s you’ve felt him radiate joy and as you acquire tip after useful tip experiencing for yourself the joy that new knowledge brings. And on a really explicit note: who remembers reading the Joy of C in college or just for fun?

Jeffery makes the assertion that ALT.NET is an inheritor of Agile. Sure a lot of what we’re saying here boils down to the Agile manifesto and principles and the great fire hose of advice that’s The Pragmatic Programmer book. If you haven’t recognized this by now here’s a fact jack: ALT.NET doesn’t represent a whole heck of a lot of original thought! But we do have something special; we’ve got a call to action for the developer community at large to step out of vendor boundaries and take up their craft in a serious way that 1) improves the value delivered to our customers and 2) our own development experience.

I hope we can get past being limited to the Microsoft developer community and incorporate the best of all worlds. I, for one, don’t want to be limited to just one platform, one language, one framework, one tool vendor. That seriously limits my joy potential in this all-bets-are-off postmodern world. What’s interesting about the Agile community is that it extends across many different languages, platforms, and vendors. I’d like to think we’re over the arms race between .NET and Java (solely) and we can give up on the Replace Cobal Cold War. At least we’re on that path it’s just time for the wall to come down.

Sidebar: I recently had a discussion with Mike Roberts about why I am coming to be annoyed by the ALT.NET name. IMHO, we’re all in the same camp sooner or later. See this comment from James Avery.

What Agile is doing is tackling the method/process side from a principle/value lens. Now we need the tools and choices in tools to match! There’s plenty we have to consider. We need to take a hard look at new things like dynamic language, restful architectures, Rails, etc. Sure this is bit-level but we should form our opinions and leveraging our voice right now.

I am very anxious to see how Open Spaces goes, what comes of it, and how people tackle these problems. I am glad that people like Jeffery are coming with full-fledged ideas to help the developer community evolve as a whole. I’d just caution that we have a developing situation here and we should avoid re-creating dogma at all costs. It’s our responsibility to actively listen, be critical-but-open minded, and open up these proceedings to the entire community so we can keep the momentum going and move forward.

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